Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) was established on 15 October 2012 to support the campaign by SAVE Britain’s Heritage among others to save Seafield House in Ayr, securing a new use for this iconic building & developing proposals for its restoration.
Patron: Andrew Arrol
On Monday 15 October 2012, over 15 of Scotland & Britain’s leading conservation architects & engineers, architectural historians, academics, authors, entrepreneurs & local residents met in Ayr to launch their campaign to SAVE Seafield House in Ayr – the former home of Sir William Arrol – by establishing the Friends of Seafield House.
Sir William Arrol (1839-1913), the Scottish civil engineer, bridge builder, and Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for South Ayrshire constructed the iconic Forth Rail Bridge & London Tower Bridge & a host of other important bridges & buildings across the world.
Seafield House is a poignantly beautiful roofless ruin that stands empty & neglected & slowly decaying after a savage fire gutted the interior. At that time it was owned by NHS Ayrshire & Arran, which had proved to be a poor steward of the building. In 2011, faced by strong local & national opposition, the NHS Trust withdrew its application to demolish the category B listed building.
Marcus Binney, President of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, and Patrick Lorimer, Director of ARPL Architects are spearheading the campaign. The new Friends of Seafield House unanimously endorsed their initial proposals to rescue the building, beginning with a swift programme of urgent works to stop further deterioration during the forthcoming winter.
Marcus Binney says:
“Ruined castles tower houses and mansions have survived centuries of abandon and neglect all over Scotland and during the past 60 years not just dozens but hundreds have been brought back to life and use by enterprising new owners. Seafield House must not be allowed to join the long list of over 200 major historic houses demolished in Scotland since 1945”
Patrick Lorimer says:
”Not only is the building iconic in the light of its original owner it is also a critical and vital element within the historic landscape of this unique part of Ayr, it should and can be rescued”
Andrew Arrol, Patron of the Friends of Seafield House, who as Surveyor to York Minster, is in charge of one of the most important and ambitious repair and restoration programmes in the British Isles, says:
“In my view Seafield House can certainly be saved. It is very well built of good durable materials and potential has many years of life ahead of it.”
Charles Blackett-Ord, a leading structural engineer with long experience of endangered historic buildings who also attended the meeting says:
“Despite the loss of most of the roof in the fire, the walls remain substantial and stable and a quite modest programme of urgent works could safeguard the building while plans are drawn up for its rescue”